Wolverines In Washington

Note: Repost from the old blog.

Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Idaho (here and here), Wyoming, Nevada , Utah and Colorado, the Upper Midwest and New Mexico. There are also five posts on the wolverine in California.

This post was split off from an earlier post that got too large, California Wolverine Re-discovered After 86 Years. This particular post will deal with the question of wolverines in the state of Washington.

First of all, wolverines have been proven to exist in Washington in the past six years. On May 29, 2009, a wolverine was photographed on the north side of Mount Adams on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Another wolverine was photographed on the Yakima Indian Reservation the year before.

The report on the Methow District of the Okanagan Forest below shows that two wolverines were trapped on the forest in 2005. This is excellent news and is the only report of wolverines being live-trapped anywhere on Earth, or possibly ever.

In addition, wolverines have been photographed on the Wenatchee National Forest and on the Yakima Indian Reservation in 2006. In 2005, fur was collected south of Danville on the Okanagan.

Compared to and Oregon, wolverines in Washington seem to be doing a lot better.

Although most reports indicate that wolverines are dire shape in Washington, the truth is that they are probably not in in immediate danger of going extinct, at least up in the far north of the Okanagan, where the wolverines are probably drifting down from British Colombia.

The report on wolverines in the Methow Ranger District in the Okanagan National Forest in far northern Washington near the British Colombian border is here. That location is in the Northern Cascades.

In addition, there have been sightings of wolverines outside of the Hart’s Pass area of the Okanagan. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife reports that wolverines are thought to exist on the Colville, Gifford, Pinchot, Kanisku, Okanagan, and Wenatchee National Forests based on 33 reports of sighting and tracks from 1985-2000.

In 2005, wolverine fur was collected just south of Danville in the Kettle Range in northeastern Washington. This area is just south of British Colombia.

Photo of a wolverine shot on the northwest side of Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington in May 2009.

In 2006, a camera station detected a wolverine in the Napeequa River Valley in the Glacier Peak Wilderness to the south of Hart’s Pass on the Wenatchee National Forest.

The Napeequa River Valley in the Glacier Peak Wilderness. The valley has been compared to Shangri-La. The trail to the valley is now damaged and overgrown in spots, but you can still get there. The valley floor is about 4,200 feet. A wolverine was detected at a camera station here in 2006.


In the same year, another camera detected a wolverine on the northeast slope of Mt. Adams on the Yakima Indian Reservation. This is also in the Cascades, but is in southern Washington.

The northeast slope of Mount Adams in the middle of winter. A wolverine was detected here with a camera in 2006. There are many avalanches here. Within the area shown by this photo, there were several avalanche and mountain climber rescues in recent years.

One theory is that wolverines evolved in glaciated regions and then adapted to the receding glaciers. As the glaciers receded, they left behind huge rock fields called glacial moraine. In the steeper areas, there were probably many rock slides as the glaciers receded. These rock slides probably killed many animals, including large animals.

The theory is that the wolverine, with its frost-resistant fur and frenetic lifestyle capable of traversing the most formidable territory, evolved to scavenge the dead animals killed as the glaciers receded. They are now found in the areas that most closely resemble the glaciated environment in which they evolved.


There were also sightings on the Olympic Peninsula and on the Mount Baker National Forest east of Bellingham in the 1990’s.

A wolverine was sighted near Twin Lakes on the Colville Indian Reservation in 2005. This is at the southern end of the Kettle River Range.

Click the wolverines label at the end of the post to see other posts on wolverines in the US, including many sighting reports and photos.


Biodiversity Legal Foundation, Predator Conservation Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife, Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, and Superior Wilderness Action Network. (2000). Petition for a Rule to List the Wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) as Threatened or Endangered under the Endangered Species Act within the Contiguous United States. Submitted to the U.S. Dept. of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service on July 11, 2000.
Predator Conservation Alliance. (2001). Predator Conservation Alliance’s Literature Summary — Draft — January 24, 2001 — Draft Conservation Status and Needs of the Wolverine (Gulo gulo).


Filed under Americas, Animals, Endangered Species, Environmentalism, Regional, Reposts From The Old Site, USA, Washington, West, Wildlife, Wolverines

18 responses to “Wolverines In Washington

  1. Pingback: California Wolverine Re-discovered After 86 Years « Robert Lindsay

    • Lyn Eric Edgel

      Five years ago, a wolverine crossed the road in front of me on Bridge Creek Road near Twin Lakes on the Colville Indian Reservation in Ferry County, Washington. It literally made my hair stand on end, I was so excited by the experience. There is no doubt that it was a wolverine, because I recognized the unique head shape and gait from nature programs featuring wolverines. No old-timers or Indian elders whom I told about it had ever seen or heard of a wolverine in the area.

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  14. “Frost-resistant” fur and other evolutionary marvels while making the animal hardy in extreme elements is also a curse because humans want it for themselves.

    I’ve been to the Olympic Peninsula a couple of times and in my eye, it is heaven on earth!

  15. Allan

    It is Wednesday and my adrenaline is still going from my experience on Saturday. I had a run in with a wolverine outside of colfax, WA. The exact LL is 46.732306/-117.429.442. The second photo above is about the landscape we were in. A brutal sloping canyon and temps about 26 degrees. It was 7 pm and I had just butchered a white tail…so I smelled pretty good to it I would think. Anyway, I grew up in WA and have hunted that canyon for over 10 years..it is called Little Almota. I know the experts would say no way it is only about 2200 ft but that is ok. If I were only 99 percent sure of what I saw I would not be on thie site leaving my experience for what that is worth. Anyway, I would conservatively estimate him at about 60-65 pounds….would say over 70 but I know how it is when you are in a scary situation, one tends to seem things are bigger. It was about as big as my Aust Shepherd (he is 60-65 pounds). The thing that struck me is that it was sooooo fast, like a coyote fast, the only thing I could think of was it was a miniature black bear. Anyway, it was all black and dark brown. I won’t go on and on and I know it is not a documented sighting but it an expert were to go trap that exact spot, I think they would get him to tag it. Anyway, I think he lives in that canyon as no humans but only my crazy family would even traveerse to the bottom. There are so many holes/caves along the shear slopes and an abundance of food, white tail, mule deer, coyotes, porcupines…etc to name a few.

    Anyway, the best I could describe this guy was a FAST, AGGRESSIVE, SNUFFLING BALL OF ENERGY. I don’t scare easily but this guy had NO BACK UP in him. If it would not have been for two other hunters running to me, I think my state would have blamed a cougar or a heart attack on my end. I know so dramatic but I have seen grizzlies, cougars, badgers, wolves, coyotes and so much more. They care..this guy did not. Oh the date was November 10, 2012 at about 7pm.

  16. Pingback: Wolverine Killed in North Dakota! | Beyond Highbrow - Robert Lindsay

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